NCAC Tourney Preview: Women’s Basketball

NCAC Tourney Preview: Women’s Basketball

Looking for their 13th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament, the unranked Tigers will need the automatic bid that comes from winning the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament to continue that streak.

That road begins Tuesday at Neal Fieldhouse in a first round matchup that features the 2014 NCAC Tournament Champions against last year's champion in Wittenberg.

DePauw comes in as the No. 2 seed with a 19-6 overall record and a 13-3 NCAC record. Wittenberg enters as the No. 7 seed with a regular season record at 7-16 and 6-10 in the conference.

The Tigers took both regular season matchups, winning 62-28 at home on Jan. 13 and again 50-40 at Wittenberg on Feb. 10. The Tigers received balanced scoring in both games, with Emily Budde averaging 11.5 ppg. Abby Keller averaged 10 rebounds between the two games.

Budde is the team's leading scorer. She averaged 13.7 ppg during the regular season. Maya Howard was second at 9.8 ppg, and Keller followed with 7.9 ppg. Keller also led the team with 7.5 rpg.

Those to watch out for on Wittenberg include leading scorer Becca Ziska (10.3 ppg), Taylore Bundy (9.3 ppg) and Michelle Brunswick (7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg).

DePauw averages 62.8 ppg and allows just 48.6 ppg. They shot 42 percent on the year and have outrebounded opponents 39-29.

Wittenberg averages 51.7 ppg and allows 57.3 ppg. They shot 33 percent on the season and have been outrebounded by opponents 39-38.

Wittenberg has lost two consecutive games and have lost 7 of their last ten games. DePauw enters the NCAC Tournament winners of six straight and nine of their last ten games.

The only team hotter than the Tigers is No. 1 Denison, who enters on a 15-game winning streak. At 22-3 overall and 15-1 in the NCAC, the Big Red broke the Tigers' streak of four consecutive NCAC regular season titles. They open play at home against No. 8 Ohio Wesleyan (6-19, 5-11) on Tuesday.

The other Tuesday matchups include No. 6 Hiram (12-13, 6-10) at No. 3 Kenyon (17-8, 11-5) and No. 5 Oberlin (12-13, 6-10) at No. 4 Allegheny (13-12, 8-8).

The tournament continues Friday with the semifinals and concludes Saturday with the championship. This year's champion will again receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 4.

NOTES: Wittenberg leads all league teams with 12 NCAC Championships…Wittenberg defeated Ohio Wesleyan 81-57 in the championship game last season.

TICKETS: Adults $7; NCAC Guest Pass $5; Children, students (without NCAC Institution ID) $5; NCAC Student (with NCAC Institution ID), FREE.

Quarterfinals:

Tuesday, Feb. 23

No. 8 Ohio Wesleyan (6-19, 5-11) at No. 1 Denison (22-3, 15-1), 6 p.m.

No. 7 Wittenberg (7-16, 6-10) at No. 2 DePauw (19-6, 13-3), 7:30 p.m.

No. 6 Hiram (12-13, 6-10) at No. 3 Kenyon (17-8, 11-5), 7 p.m.

No. 5 Oberlin (12-13, 6-10) at No. 4 Allegheny (13-12, 8-8), 7:30 p.m.

Semifinals:

Friday, Feb. 26

(At highest remaining seed from quarterfinals)

DEN/OWU vs. ALL/OBE, TBA

DPU/WIT vs. KEN/HIR, TBA

Championship:

Saturday, Feb. 27

(Same site as semifinals)

Semifinal winners, 4 p.m.